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It’s official. Or as official as it can be until I actually get my diploma in the mail 6 weeks from now. I am a 2011 Bradley University graduate.

It’s still quite surreal. I am constantly amazed at how quickly time seems to pass ever since I became older. The last four years seem to have flown by, yet so much happened. I am all about the feelings and so I think the best way to organize this entry is categorizing it accordingly. I feel:

GRATEFUL.

I am so, so, so, so immensely grateful for so much. Yes, life is hard. There are MANY obstacles for each person. And although the obstacles vary in degree of difficulty, to each person the challenges he or she faces are the most intense. This is natural. And I have definitely had my share of obstacles. I have been stabbed in the back by “friends.” I’ve been incredibly stressed out by life and school (I’d like to believe there is a separation there sometimes!). I’ve been heartbroken. I’ve spent countless hours in worry, fear, guilt, loneliness. It’s been a rough road and many times along the way I have fallen prey to all the negativity I felt around me. But a valuable lesson I have learned is to always be grateful and count my blessing.

I am grateful for my incredibly supportive, albeit a bit crazy, family. For my amazing friends. My inspiring mentors. And of course, for all of my incredible opportunities. Sometimes when I reflect on all that I have done, big or small, I can hardly believe certain experiences were a part of MY life! I feel so blessed for everything from my education, to my travel experiences. And I am grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the coming years.

SHOCKED

It really is only just beginning to sink in that my time as a student is over for now. I can’t believe I have graduated from Bradley. It feels like I was there for 4 days rather than 4 years, and I can vividly remember so many memories from each of my years there. I believe I have changed and grown quite a bit over the course of the last four years, and I’ve gotten to see my friends progress similarly. I still can’t believe that in a little over 2 weeks I will be flying into Houston for 5 weeks of TFA training. It’s all moving so quickly!

NERVOUS (aka sad/stressed/scared)

I am incredibly nervous for the next chapter of my life. I will be leaving behind my family, my friends and basically everything familiar to me. I am scared of being far away from it all. I am scared of the stress and the workload to come. I am nervous about it all, and whether I will be able to handle it (although everything thus far says I can). I have only about 2 weeks to do basically all of the pre-institute work..!!!!!!!! I am nervous about how I will get everything I need for Institute down there via plane.. And whether I will find roommates..and a place to live.. It’s all quite overwhelming really! I have been trying my best to calm myself with deep breathing when this poisonous yet unavoidable nervousness strikes especially hard. Deep breathing, and this quote which has become my mantra for years to come I’m sure: “Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile, initially scared me to death” (Betty Bender). I have begun repeating this quote to myself several times a day. I love it because my past experiences have proven this to be TRUE. And therefore, I can rely on it as a mantra for future experiences as well.

EXCITED!

I am moving to a brand new HOT city, with [mostly] brand new people, for a brand new adventure! I am so excited to meet fellow TFA CMs, find a place to live, check and deck out MY classroom!! (Crazy!) I am excited for all my friends who have said they’d visit to actually visit! I am excited to explore Houston for awesome food and shopping, check out all the different scenes for entertainment, arts and even sports :o!! It is uncharted territory and I’m excited for the opportunity to discover all Houston has to offer. I can’t wait to find out where and what I’ll be teaching. I have already begun envisioning my future students, and have been reading Teach For Us blogs religiously!

I’m also just excited to be out in the real world, save some money and be more independent. And I can’t wait to be able to travel as well!

Yesterday was not the end of just another phase of my life; rather it was a siphoning off of everything I have learned and experienced thus far into the next chapters. And really, that’s just the way life flows.

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